Planning Your Project

Posted on March 15, 2010 by Simply Paving There have been 16 comment(s)

The first guide in the Simply Do It Yourself series and the first step in any patio or driveway project should involve the planning of the proposed area.

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Your Initial Considerations

The first key consideration in the planning process is to define the use of the area to be landscaped. Different areas provide different functions and the required function is essential in determining which materials to use.

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Defining the function of the area is absolutely essential to narrow down your search for a suitable product.

The next step is to view the products which are designed to match the criteria you have. This will enable you to select the products that suit your tastes (including considerations over contemporary and traditional styles), products that blend or contrast with existing features (house colour, existing walls and landscape features) and fit within your budget.

We can supply products that will enable you to be as extravagant or as conservative as you please, without breaking the bank.


It's not necessary that you limit your landscaping project to only one type of product, or even colour. A large area consisting of randomly laid flagstones may not have the same overall impact as an area of randomly laid flagstones, combined with a circle feature or interspersed with setts.

Try mixing sandstone flags with sandstone setts, even in two contrasting colours, to define areas or borders. The same can be true when using concrete block paving for driveway areas. Often, instead of or in addition to a raised kerb, people like to border the drive area with a contrasting block either in the same style or a standard 200×100 block.

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Decorative aggregates may also be a consideration to effectively break areas up. Why not try aggregates in certain areas of your patio, planted with perennials, herbs, grasses and alpines? This can enliven the senses to not only sight, but touch, smell and sound too.

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Planning the Area

Firstly, the area to be landscaped will have to be carefully surveyed, measuring the area, noting existing features (including any obstacles, trees or manhole covers etc) and determining the levels.

Calculation of the levels or gradient is essential to any paving project, to ensure the area allows water to drain away as quickly as possible. Standing water can easily be a slip hazard and it may also deteriorate the surface and the structure of the paved area.

The amount of fall required largely depends on the type of paving to be used. Smooth surface flags are quicker to drain than riven flags, due to their surface profile and therefore can be laid with less of a gradient. Products with a smooth surface require a minimum fall of 1:60 whereas a product with a riven profile will require a minimum fall of 1:50.

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To calculate the gradient, you will need two take two measurements, the depth or vertical height and the horizontal distance of the paved area.

Example Calculation

You are laying an area of sandstone flags, 5 metres in length x 3 metres wide. At the end of the 5 metre length, there is a drainage gully into which you would like the water to run. You decide that the minimum fall of 1:60 is sufficient for draining the patio area:

1:60 = 1/60 = 0.0167
Length = 5000 × 0.0167 = 83.5mm
Patio to fall 83.5mm towards drainage gully.

The area can then be set out as a scale drawing, either on paper or in a software package making note of any features and their relation to each other. If necessary, large areas or those with complicated shapes are often divided into smaller, more manageable sections. The scale drawing will then enable you to calculate the total area you have to be paved.

Using this area total, Simply Paving will be able to give you an accurate quote for your paving requirements, VAT and delivery (if applicable) inclusive.

If you require any help, please give the Simply Paving office a call on 0800 032 6306 and we will try to assist you in all aspects of your landscaping project.

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This post was posted in How to..., Simply Do It Yourself and was tagged with Aggregates, Block Paving, Building Materials, Circle, DIY, Driveway, Driveways, Landscaping, Natural, Patio, Patios, Paving, Pebbles, Sandstone, Simply Paving

16 Responses to Planning Your Project

  • Hi, Some years ago we had a disc that let you design patio layouts with different size slabs. We have lost this and wonder whether you have anything like this. Regards, Richard Walton

    Posted on June 15, 2010 at 7:57 pm

  • Unfortunately not, I imagine it was the Bradstone Patio Designer that you had, however, Bradstone no longer supply this CD-ROM. If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the office on 0800 032 6306.

    Posted on June 25, 2010 at 9:46 am

  • JEPS says:

    Hi ,

    I'm planning on a extensive drive way in paving and some landscaping. Is it better to use a builder or drive paving company?

    What are pros / cons of each?

    Posted on March 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm

  • Hi,

    You probably need to speak to a number of paving and building contractors in your area and determine who is most suitable for the work required. Not all contractors are comfortable laying block paved driveways and they should be honest enough to tell you this.

    Your best bet really is to speak to as many contractors as possible and get as many quotes as possible.


    Simply Paving

    Posted on March 7, 2011 at 8:35 am

  • deborah says:

    Are the sandstone flags suitable for driveways?

    Posted on July 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm

  • Hi Deborah,

    Unfortunately, the sandstone paving that we supply isn’t suitable for use on driveways. Bradstone Natural Sandstone Paving is calibrated to 22mm and as such would be too thin for use in heavily trafficked areas.

    Your best bet for driveway paving would be to have a look at Bradstone’s range of block paving on our website

    Best regards

    Simply Paving

    Posted on July 20, 2011 at 11:59 am

  • CS says:

    I'd like to replace my existing paving which is sandstone, it is badly discoloured, dirty, muddy and covered in fungus, algae etc. I'm looking to repave the front of the house, side path and patio, but need something that will not discolour or need constant washing.

    What would you recommend?

    Posted on August 23, 2011 at 6:26 pm

  • In general, all paving will require fairly regular maintenance, whether it is a natural or manufactured product. This is often dependant on the frequency of use, type of use and the surrounding environment. For example, areas with overhanging trees may experience more algae growth and discolouration than others.

    If maintenance is to be carried out regularly, a natural product may be more suitable, as they are often more durable and therefore can withstand power washing.

    We can also supply a sealant from a company called Signo that will protect any of our porous products against ingrained soiling from dirt, staining from oil and water based contaminants and even moss and algae growth

    Best regards

    Simply Paving

    Posted on August 24, 2011 at 8:36 am

  • CS says:

    Thanks for your reply, I have been maintaining it on a regular basis, but to no effect. In fact, it seems the more that I clean it, the more porous it becomes, so more prone to staining etc. It needs to be replaced, so I was wondering whether a man-made product would be more suitable. There is an overhanging tree too.

    Posted on August 24, 2011 at 10:27 am

  • Unfortunately, you may still have the same issue with a manufactured product and over time, with regular cleaning, you may see damage to the surface of the paving.

    Touching on a previous point, when power washing natural products, you have to be very careful not to damage the surface of the paving… with decorative concrete products power washing is really not recommended.

    You can seal these products, it won’t make the area maintenance free, but it should make the area easier to clean when needed.

    Have you considered products with a lower porosity, such as natural granite ( or natural slate ( One thing to note though with the granite we supply is that it has a flamed (textured) surface, so may be more prone to accumulating dirt and moss over time.

    If you feel like you want to speak to someone about your options, please do not hesitate to contact our office on 0800 032 6306 and we'll be more than happy to help.

    Best regards

    Simply Paving

    Posted on August 24, 2011 at 11:22 am

  • We are about to replace and enlarge our (boring) patio area with concrete paving. Our son comes to visit us regularly and he is in a very heavy outdoor electric wheelchair. We wonder whether there is any guidance you could give to the type of paving we may need - or do you think all paving stones would be OK. What should we lay them on?

    Thanks for any help you may give.

    Posted on January 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm

  • Hi David,

    It really is dependent on the actual weight of the wheelchair and how the weight is distributed.

    Have you considered block paving? This type of paving can be more suited to heavier trafficking and can create a really attractive patio area

    It may be worth giving Bradstone / Charcon a call directly on 01335 372 222. They will be in a better position to offer advice on the loading that specific paving ranges can handle. They will also be able to advise what laying method is most suitable too as this is dependent on the actual paving you choose.

    Hope this helps.

    Best regards,

    Simply Paving

    Posted on February 1, 2012 at 10:24 am

  • can you assist please i am interested in the bradstone paving texture finish 600x600 in grey but i cannot find out what colour grey they will be can you give me some idea and will they be suitable for a patio which is quite large. thank you

    Posted on April 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm

  • richard says:


    Your best bet for confirming the colour of our products is to see a sample. If you would like to call our office on 0800 032 6306 we can organise a free of charge sample for you.

    Kind regards

    Simply Paving

    Posted on April 13, 2012 at 11:20 am

  • I am thinking of using natural blue slate for my patio and there are tree's that overhang certain area's,

    Can I seal the natural slate with a sealant if so what do you recommend.

    Thank You

    Posted on July 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm

  • Hi,

    The Bradstone Natural Slate Paving can be sealed with our Signo Flexiguard which is a water based product that will help protect any of our porous products against ingrained soiling from dirt, staining from oil and water based contaminants and even moss and algae growth.

    Tests have shown it may slightly darken the Blue-Black colour of the slate.

    Best regards

    Simply Paving

    Posted on July 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm